By Allison Stewart
"You know that I'm magical/And I am the original," Kylie Minogue sings on the title track to her 11th studio album, "Aphrodite." "I am the only one to make you feel this way."
You can't blame the girl for wanting to press her point. For more than 20 years, the Australian singer has had her nose pressed to the glass of American superstardom, only to witness what was left of her thunder being stolen by -- you knew this was coming -- fellow flaxen-haired electro-disco diva Lady Gaga.
Minogue cuts a more benevolent figure than Gaga, but she's every bit as remote, something reinforced by the disc's goddess-on-a-mountaintop motif. "Aphrodite" is a better-than-average entry in the Minogue canon, though it varies little in either texture or tone from what has become a well-thumbed formula: lots of strikingly good, and strikingly similar, glitzy Euro-pop numbers, this time girded by an army of puffed-out synths and undercut by the occasional obligatory ballad, and all sung in Minogue's gossamer-thin coo.
Making "Aphrodite" took a village, a team of around 40 (!) songwriters and producers overseen by "Confessions on a Dance Floor" survivor Stuart Price. It's a potential quagmire for a lesser artist, but it's part of Minogue's inestimable charm that she seems incapable of putting a foot wrong, and "Aphrodite," patched together with the sonic equivalent of glitter and Elmer's glue, feels more cohesive than it would in less capable hands.
Recommended tracks: "All the Lovers," "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)"